As much as I love mixing drinks and cocktails, I can't help but dabble in a bit of flair-tending from time to time. It's part of being a professional bartender to entertain customers with "bottle work". Flair bartending was made famous by Tom Cruise in the 1980's movie "Cocktail", and as bartenders we are constantly reminded of this. But the tricks that Brian Flanagan pulled off in "Cocktail" was nothing compared to what I had the pleasure of seeing at Roadhouse Bar in London's Covert Garden. I was invited to attend the "World Flair-tending Competition heats" which was a qualifying competition for flair-tenders hoping to compete in the world championships, later in the year.
Flair-tending has become more of a circus act than making drinks. The competing bartenders had 5 minutes to pull of precision moves which would make any bartender jealous. Multiple bottles and tins flung through the air and caught all at the same time was a standard yet very difficult trick which many of the flair tenders displayed to the judges. I have to make mention of one particular flair-tender who pulled of several difficult tricks throughout his routine and clearly pushed himself to the absolute limit, because when his five minutes was up, he ran off the stage to vomit, something I've never seen before in a flair bartending competition. That just goes to show, the competition is tough when a bartender pushes himself so hard, he makes himself sick.
There was clearly one stand out flair-tender at the end of the night, and this man is no stranger to winning flair comps. Tom Dyer, who has won every flair competition around, came out victorious. Which was no surprise. Tom's routine was "almost" flawless. Amazing tricks, and if you watch the video, I think you can forgive him for just a few mistakes. Extremely complex moves which were executed very well.
We had a great night watching these guys strut their stuff. It's truly inspiring and makes you want to go home and start throwing some bottles around yourself.
Check out Tom Dyer in Action: